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Since graduating high school last spring, Imyni has been busy adjusting to her new life in the Polk Sheriff’s Charities Scholarship House. She lived at both the Boys Ranch and the Youth Villa before graduating, and her face is familiar to everyone on campus.

“Everyone knows who Imyni is,” she joked.

Not only does the Youth Ranches family know her, they’ve had the privilege of watching her develop into an independent, determined young woman. When Imyni arrived at the Ranches, she wasn’t used to the structured lifestyle that awaited her in a cottage. At home, she was often left to her own devices and as a result she continuously skipped school and fell behind.

“After a while, I realized if I’m going to be here, it’s better than being home. Now I do everything by the book and it all came together,” she said.

While at the Youth Ranches, Imyni was able to catch up and get on track in school. After graduating high school, she moved into the Scholarship House. Part of the agreement for students in the Scholarship House is that they have to maintain a part- or full-time job and attend classes toward a degree or certification. This helps instill a sense of independence and helps them
transition into adult life.

“When I first moved over here,” Imyni remembered, “I was still doing things that we do in the cottage. I’d be in my room by 9. Then after a while, I decided maybe I can try to do things different.”

Now Imyni spends a good bit of her time in the living room of the Scholarship House, working on homework while sitting on the couch or spending time with the other students in the house. While some students struggle with their newfound independence, Imyni embraced the chance to do things her own way.

She was accepted at Polk State College and began taking classes for her AA degree in August 2020. Her career options are undecided, although she knows it’s going to come down to either nursing or early childhood education. In regards to a job, Imyni already had that covered. As a Rancher, she was expected to get a job either on campus orin the community, and this is something that Imyni took very seriously.

“I’ve been working at my current job since I was in 11th grade,” Imyni said. “I’ve been a manager since December of 2019.”

At the beginning, Imyni worked as a cashier and tried to keep her head down and keep up. Then an opportunity presented itself for her to learn how to do different jobs, and she taught herself the necessary skills to continue moving up.

“I’m a visual learner; once I see something, I know how to do it,” she said. “So my boss told me ‘If you can show me that you can show initiative, I want to make you the next manager.’ So I basically just took things into my own hands.”

Since taking online courses with Polk State, Imyni saw the opportunity to work more hours, so she applied and was hired at a second job. She expertly juggles online classes, two jobs, and her life at the Scholarship House. Her mindset centers around a piece of advice she got early on: Don’t look back.

“I can tend to fall on my past. But you can’t worry about the past, it’s only about the future now. So I can move forward and plan ahead.”

While she knows she has the support of the Residential Life Coaches and other students in the Scholarship House, Imyni always makes it a point to try and figure out new things on her own.

“I always try to do things myself; I’ve been like that since I came to the Ranch,” she said. “I earn my own money, got my own car. I don’t like to half-do anything.”

Her determination is evident in everything she does, from her schoolwork to her job. While living at the Scholarship House, Imyni is ready to do everything she can to stay on the path toward a successful future.